Art Against Knives and LCF came together last week at the Ally Capellino Store in Shoreditch, to celebrate their second Design+Make collaboration – a programme designed to support young adults in creating their own positive futures, supported by the Sir John Cass Foundation.
Ten young creatives aged 18‐24 from the London Boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Newham joined this year’s cohort. The students spent two weeks in the workshops at Golden Lane, learning traditional leather work skills, which through the guidance of our industry professionals and technicians, resulted in the students designing and making their own leather bag.
21-year old Andre from Tower Hamlets who participated in this year’s project told us about his experience.
It was a two week leather bag making course and I really enjoyed it. I was able to test skills that I had already, and obviously work on new ones – I gained a lot of experience and learnt how to use certain tools like the ore and leather cutter.
I’m actually a vegan so I’ve never worked with leather before, but the tradition and art in making leather bags is something I’ve always wanted to find out about. Now I appreciate it a lot more.
We used vegetable tanned cow leather – as an ethical bystander I was like – ‘cool, it’s a bit sticky’ – but at the same time, if you’re going to make a bag and make a good one, there’s potential money to be made through manufacturing leather bags.
We created the bag from scratch – we had dimensions that we had to design to. Everyone had individual styles – a handbag, doctor’s bag, satchel, and clutch. I wanted to make a rucksack and I stuck to that. I’m glad it turned out amazing!
I want to thank the team at LCF and Art Against Knives for helping me out. I’m going to use my bag – it’s part of the brand I want to create. My plan is to start working on one off pieces and promote that through social media, and continue working on clothes and other products.
Head of LCF Professor Frances Corner also attended the event, and commented on how impressed she was at the standard of work on display. She wrote about the night on her blog and said:
The designs were so creative and really reflected the personalities of the participants. To achieve the standard of finishing that I saw in just two weeks, is really amazing. I am really proud to be a part of such a great programme, I found it inspiring listening to what the participants had taken away from the experience.
Catering on the night was provided by The Clink Charity, who aim to reduce the re-offending rate of ex-offenders, working in partnership with Her Majesty’s Prison Service to equip prisoners with practical skills. The food was prepared at HMP High Down, the adjacent men’s prison to HMP Downview, which houses LCF’s Making for Change project. The vegetables and edible flowers were grown at HMP Send, which is the prison LCF collaborates with on our The Beauty’s Inside magazine project.
Claire Swift, Director of Social Responsibility at LCF said:
We are immensely proud of our collaboration with ART AGAINST KNIVES and are wholly supportive of the excellent work that they do. The results of this project are outstanding and confirms even more so, why it is so important that London College of Fashion, UAL provides accessible experiences of higher education. In return we are able to hone the raw talent and vibrant energy of these talented young people and encourage new ways of learning in a safe and supportive environment.